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European Union - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

Netherlands Shooting Suspect to Face Murder Charges With Terrorist Intent

Dutch prosecutors said Thursday they will charge the suspect in this week’s deadly tram shooting in the city of Utrecht with multiple murder charges with terrorist intent.

Prosecutors believe Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis acted alone Monday when he allegedly killed three people and seriously wounded three others.

Prosecutors and police said in a statement they are still investigating whether the 37-year-old suspect “acted out of a single terrorist motive or whether from personal problems in combination with radicalized ideas.”

The suspect was arrested after an eight-hour search that virtually closed the city. Police later arrested a fourth suspect and are trying to determine “whether this suspect played a supporting role in the shooting.”

Tanis is scheduled to attend a closed-door court hearing on Friday. Prosecutors also said Tanis will undergo a psychological examination.

 

 

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Netherlands Shooting Suspect to Face Murder Charges With Terrorist Intent

Dutch prosecutors said Thursday they will charge the suspect in this week’s deadly tram shooting in the city of Utrecht with multiple murder charges with terrorist intent.

Prosecutors believe Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis acted alone Monday when he allegedly killed three people and seriously wounded three others.

Prosecutors and police said in a statement they are still investigating whether the 37-year-old suspect “acted out of a single terrorist motive or whether from personal problems in combination with radicalized ideas.”

The suspect was arrested after an eight-hour search that virtually closed the city. Police later arrested a fourth suspect and are trying to determine “whether this suspect played a supporting role in the shooting.”

Tanis is scheduled to attend a closed-door court hearing on Friday. Prosecutors also said Tanis will undergo a psychological examination.

 

 

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As Brexit Clock Ticks, May Appeals to EU for Delay

British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying Thursday to persuade European Union leaders in Brussels to approve a three-month extension, giving Britain more time to figure out how exactly it will leave the EU.

The other 27 EU members must approve any Brexit delay beyond the original March 29 deadline. A vote is not likely to take place until next week.

Before May traveled to make her case in person at Thursday’s EU meeting, she made her request in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.

But Tusk says such a short-term extension can only happen if Britain’s parliament votes in the next week to approve the divorce terms that British and EU negotiators reached after two years of talks.

British lawmakers have shown little enthusiasm for that deal, rejecting it by large margins in two votes. The speaker of the House of Commons has also said a third vote should not take place on procedural grounds.

May said in an address Wednesday night that lawmakers now have the choice to either support her deal or have Britain go forward with Brexit without any terms in place for its separation from the European Union.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also traveled to Brussels for his own talks with EU officials in an attempt to find support for allowing parliament, and not May, to figure out an alternative path forward.

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As Brexit Clock Ticks, May Appeals to EU for Delay

British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying Thursday to persuade European Union leaders in Brussels to approve a three-month extension, giving Britain more time to figure out how exactly it will leave the EU.

The other 27 EU members must approve any Brexit delay beyond the original March 29 deadline. A vote is not likely to take place until next week.

Before May traveled to make her case in person at Thursday’s EU meeting, she made her request in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.

But Tusk says such a short-term extension can only happen if Britain’s parliament votes in the next week to approve the divorce terms that British and EU negotiators reached after two years of talks.

British lawmakers have shown little enthusiasm for that deal, rejecting it by large margins in two votes. The speaker of the House of Commons has also said a third vote should not take place on procedural grounds.

May said in an address Wednesday night that lawmakers now have the choice to either support her deal or have Britain go forward with Brexit without any terms in place for its separation from the European Union.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also traveled to Brussels for his own talks with EU officials in an attempt to find support for allowing parliament, and not May, to figure out an alternative path forward.

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Crimea Marks 5 Years of Russian Annexation as Western Sanctions Bite

Residents and officials in Crimea have been staging events this week to mark the fifth anniversary of Russia’s forceful annexation of the region from Ukraine.

The United States and its allies imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Moscow following the invasion. Analysts say the economic impact is denting approval ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of heavily armed fighters, dubbed “little green men” for their anonymous uniforms, stormed Ukrainian military installations and government buildings in February 2014. The fighters were clearly backed by Russia, but Moscow denied involvement.

On March 16, 2014, the new de facto authorities staged a referendum in which they claimed more than 95 percent of voters chose to return Crimea to Russian control. Putin hailed the annexation.

“After a hard, long, tiring trip, Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home port, to their native shore, homeward, to Russia,” Putin said in a ceremony in Moscow’s Red Square five years ago to mark the annexation, just weeks after the country hosted athletes from around the world at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

 

WATCH: Crimea Marks Anniversary of Russian Annexation

Putin returned to Crimea this week and praised the progress made.

New power stations have been built. A new bridge links Crimea to the Russian mainland, its limited height restricts shipping into Ukrainian ports. A rail service is to begin this year.

Crimea residents appear supportive.

“Well, it’s all good. Giant construction sites everywhere, you can see that,” one resident told VOA this month.

​Political cost

In the aftermath of the Crimean invasion, Putin’s approval ratings soared. They are now falling fast.

The U.S., Europe and several allies imposed economic sanctions in Moscow. Russian political analyst Maria Lipman said the economic noose has tightened.

“The Crimea syndrome, or Crimea consensus, is wearing out quite visibly,” Lipman said. “The announcement of the pension reform, and the raise of the retirement age, was a trigger when people began to realize — not that they hadn’t realized before — but they really began to feel that things were not right.”

Ukraine is about to hold presidential elections. The leading candidates have pledged to continue Kyiv’s path toward European Union and NATO membership. 

So, could Putin attempt further military action? Unlikely, said Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies.

“Russian politics is much exhausted with Ukraine. I definitely exclude any kind of military intervention, the closure of the Azov Sea, or military provocations in Donbas,” he said.

The U.S. and the European Union said this week that Crimea will always be considered part of Ukraine.

Critics say the West’s failure to confront Russia more robustly in 2014 led to Moscow’s intervention in other conflicts, including in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and in Syria.

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Crimea Marks 5 Years of Russian Annexation as Western Sanctions Bite

Residents and officials in Crimea have been staging events this week to mark the fifth anniversary of Russia’s forceful annexation of the region from Ukraine.

The United States and its allies imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Moscow following the invasion. Analysts say the economic impact is denting approval ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of heavily armed fighters, dubbed “little green men” for their anonymous uniforms, stormed Ukrainian military installations and government buildings in February 2014. The fighters were clearly backed by Russia, but Moscow denied involvement.

On March 16, 2014, the new de facto authorities staged a referendum in which they claimed more than 95 percent of voters chose to return Crimea to Russian control. Putin hailed the annexation.

“After a hard, long, tiring trip, Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home port, to their native shore, homeward, to Russia,” Putin said in a ceremony in Moscow’s Red Square five years ago to mark the annexation, just weeks after the country hosted athletes from around the world at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

 

WATCH: Crimea Marks Anniversary of Russian Annexation

Putin returned to Crimea this week and praised the progress made.

New power stations have been built. A new bridge links Crimea to the Russian mainland, its limited height restricts shipping into Ukrainian ports. A rail service is to begin this year.

Crimea residents appear supportive.

“Well, it’s all good. Giant construction sites everywhere, you can see that,” one resident told VOA this month.

​Political cost

In the aftermath of the Crimean invasion, Putin’s approval ratings soared. They are now falling fast.

The U.S., Europe and several allies imposed economic sanctions in Moscow. Russian political analyst Maria Lipman said the economic noose has tightened.

“The Crimea syndrome, or Crimea consensus, is wearing out quite visibly,” Lipman said. “The announcement of the pension reform, and the raise of the retirement age, was a trigger when people began to realize — not that they hadn’t realized before — but they really began to feel that things were not right.”

Ukraine is about to hold presidential elections. The leading candidates have pledged to continue Kyiv’s path toward European Union and NATO membership. 

So, could Putin attempt further military action? Unlikely, said Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies.

“Russian politics is much exhausted with Ukraine. I definitely exclude any kind of military intervention, the closure of the Azov Sea, or military provocations in Donbas,” he said.

The U.S. and the European Union said this week that Crimea will always be considered part of Ukraine.

Critics say the West’s failure to confront Russia more robustly in 2014 led to Moscow’s intervention in other conflicts, including in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and in Syria.

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Italian Authorities Investigate NGO

Italian authorities have seized Italian charity ship Mare Jonio and questioned the crew, which might have defied an Interior Ministry order that closes all ports to vessels carrying rescued migrants.

The Mare Jonio is docked and empty in the port of Lampedusa, confiscated by authorities after its crew was placed under investigation by Sicilian magistrates for allegedly favoring illegal immigration. The 49 migrants who were on board, including 12 minors, disembarked in Lampedusa late Tuesday. They were given food, water and fresh clothing two days after their rescue off the Libyan coast.

Authorities first questioned the owner and captain of the vessel Tuesday night and further questioning of the crew was taking place Wednesday to reconstruct the entire rescue operation in Libyan waters and the requests made for the migrants to disembark in a safe port. Owner Beppe Caccia said he had asked to see the formal written request banning the vessel from entering Italian waters, but none was made available.

 

Alessandra Sciurba, the spokesperson for NGO Mediterranea, which runs the vessel, said there was “no order to take the migrants to Libya, not by the Libyans or by the Italians.”

 

Italian authorities said the Mare Jonio had not been granted permission to enter the island’s port. The captain of the boat said he had decided to push forward, citing security reasons and rough seas. The NGO said the migrants had been saved from either drowning or from being returned to the “horror from which they were fleeing.”

The mayor of Lampedusa, Salvatore Martello, said that with the law of the sea, if a vessel is flying an Italian flag, that boat must be allowed into an Italian port.

 

The rescued migrants are in the Lampedusa reception center waiting to be told where they will be transferred next. The last arrival of migrants on the island took place three weeks ago. Arrivals have noticeably decreased since Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini started enforcing a closed port policy last year.

 

 

 

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Italian Authorities Investigate NGO

Italian authorities have seized Italian charity ship Mare Jonio and questioned the crew, which might have defied an Interior Ministry order that closes all ports to vessels carrying rescued migrants.

The Mare Jonio is docked and empty in the port of Lampedusa, confiscated by authorities after its crew was placed under investigation by Sicilian magistrates for allegedly favoring illegal immigration. The 49 migrants who were on board, including 12 minors, disembarked in Lampedusa late Tuesday. They were given food, water and fresh clothing two days after their rescue off the Libyan coast.

Authorities first questioned the owner and captain of the vessel Tuesday night and further questioning of the crew was taking place Wednesday to reconstruct the entire rescue operation in Libyan waters and the requests made for the migrants to disembark in a safe port. Owner Beppe Caccia said he had asked to see the formal written request banning the vessel from entering Italian waters, but none was made available.

 

Alessandra Sciurba, the spokesperson for NGO Mediterranea, which runs the vessel, said there was “no order to take the migrants to Libya, not by the Libyans or by the Italians.”

 

Italian authorities said the Mare Jonio had not been granted permission to enter the island’s port. The captain of the boat said he had decided to push forward, citing security reasons and rough seas. The NGO said the migrants had been saved from either drowning or from being returned to the “horror from which they were fleeing.”

The mayor of Lampedusa, Salvatore Martello, said that with the law of the sea, if a vessel is flying an Italian flag, that boat must be allowed into an Italian port.

 

The rescued migrants are in the Lampedusa reception center waiting to be told where they will be transferred next. The last arrival of migrants on the island took place three weeks ago. Arrivals have noticeably decreased since Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini started enforcing a closed port policy last year.

 

 

 

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